In their 4 Bloody Knife review, E.L. King calls Fear Street Part Two: 1978 a journey back in time, but it's Friday the 13th meets a The Goonies style mystery adventure with all the sex, nude girls and gore you'd expect from an nod to the Slashers of the 1980s.
Don't step onto the hallowed grounds of Camp Nightwing expecting the same tone and pacing of Fear Street Part One: 1994 (2021). You will be disappointed! This is a Slasher film of old that harkens back to the slow building tension of John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) and Sean S. Cunningham's Friday the 13th (1980). Like the Slashers we know and love, we meet a delightful cast of teen characters, then watch them die one by one in true Slasher fashion all while rooting for them to solve the mystery and survive. The second installment in the Fear Street Trilogy is a journey back in time, but it's Friday the 13th meets a The Goonies (1985) style mystery adventure with all the sex, nude girls and gore you'd expect from a nod to the Slashers of the eighties.
Before we travel back in time, an eerie score plays over a news broadcast about the recent mall massacre and various slayings over the last week that town good boy, Sheriff Nick Goode has exploited. As Deena calls it, "another Shadyside tragedy." An alarm sounds to jolt the audience and C. Berman (Gillian Jacobs, Community) out of her daze. As Berman walks away from her place nestled on the couch with her dog, we see a note on the coffee table from Nick Goode that reads, "It's happening again" before getting acquainted with a night in the life of the town recluse to the tune of 'The Man Who Sold The World' by Nirvana. It appears she's relinquished a desire for anything more thrilling than television, microwave dinners, bourbon, a wall of alarm clocks we can only assume she borrowed from Doctor Emmett Brown, and lots of locks for home security. She's traumatized and taking it alarm by alarm. It's totally understandable.
Deena and Josh Johnson show up, break into the house and beg for help as a restrained and possessed Sam, Deena's girlfriend grunts from the trunk of her car. Our only clue that something more than a supernatural haunting is going on came at the end of 1994 when we observed the name Samantha Fraser etch itself into stone in what appeared to be a candlelit room. Clearly, things are even more sinister than we were originally led to believe and the occult is part of the Fear Street mystery. Initially reluctant to help the trio, Berman allows them inside and begins recounting the events of the Camp Nightwing massacre. Clocks sound as time rewinds and we find ourselves in the past, reliving C. Berman's memories right along with her. Deena is convinced that by discovering how Berman survived her visions of Sarah Fier, she'll be able to save Sam.
Camp Nightwing is really a tale of two sisters named Ziggy (Sadie Sink, Stranger Things) and Cindy (Emily Rudd) that begins on July 19, 1978. We're introduced to an entirely new cast of characters from mean girl Sheila (Chiara Aurelia, Cruel Summer), to Cindy's boyfriend Tommy Slater (McCabe Slye) and even a young Nick Goode (Ted Sutherland, Rise). On my first watch of the film, I found myself needing to step away thirty minutes in and didn't come back for a few days. I went in expecting the fast paced thrill ride of queer horror that 1994 had provided me with and got bored. If you're watching the Fear Street Trilogy from start to finish, do yourself a favor and retain all the clues you've discovered, but go into each film without expectations.
"I don’t think you go from a sweet girl with dreams to ripping someone’s insides out with a switchblade."
Upon my return, I found a film that is a treasure trove of clues to unraveling the mystery of both the Shadyside Curse and who Sarah Fier was. We also get juicy bits of information about the origins of additional Shadyside massacres and their killers in the diary of Nurse Lane, the mother of Shadyside killer Ruby Lane who we met briefly in the previous installment. We also uncover the origins and identity of the Camp Nightwing killer!
Multiple horror themes are happening in 1978. It's a traditional Slasher, a doomed love story and part urban legend or folklore rooted in actual occult activity. After Cindy and her friends find Nurse Lane's diary, they discover that Sarah Fier made a deal with the devil by cutting her hand on Satan's stone, thereby earning her eternal life. They also find a map in the diary leading to Fier's house and this is where it all gets a bit Goonies. Instead of a doubloon and an old summer restaurant, the gang find's more evidence of witchcraft under the Fier house in a system of cave-like tunnels covered in the same red moss in the woods surrounding the shallow grave of Sarah Fier in 1994.
This installment of the trilogy is hyper-focused on the division between the towns of Shadyside and Sunnyvale and their history which we slowly discover as more clues are uncovered by camp counselors Cindy, Alice (Ryan Simpkins, The House) and Arnie. The story here follows the fractured relationships of the teens. Ziggy with all of her angst who isn't ashamed to be from Shadyside, butts heads with older sister Cindy over her assimilation to the polo shirt wearing side as a wannabe Sunnyvaler. Cindy and Alice are former best friends with their own troubled history. While Ziggy and Nick Goode, who's dealing with the death of his father and whatever he's inherited as heir apparent of his family form a romantic bond. I'm not going to give too much away here or the key to C. Berman's survival. You're just going to have to watch the film to unlock the clues for yourself. I've watched the entire trilogy from start to finish three times and continue to find little ties between them that you won't notice on a first watch.
"No one gets out of this town, not even Miss Perfect."
While we don't unlock the whole truth about the origins of the Shadyside Curse or Sarah Fier, we uncover a lot of clues that will ultimately influence what's to come in the third installment of the trilogy, Fear Street Part Three: 1666 (2021). 1978 introduces us not only to several amazing characters, but to several new killer henchmen. All of which we hope will receive some kind of Fear Street origin film. The curse has been alive and well for 328 years. There are so many stories within this universe yet to be told and I'm eager to hear them all. Oh and the flies are still significant, so pay attention! We're headed back to where it all began in 1666 in the third installment and ready to come face to face with Fier herself.
Now playing on Netflix.